Nel's New Day

October 30, 2022

A Prequel to Halloween 2022

Ah, the joys of living in the rural U.S.: yesterday Spectrum, controlling all our media, shut down just as I was posting the following. A few updates: Elon Musk, now controlling Twitter, thinks the attack is a “false flag.” On the Fox network, Jesse Waters said it wasn’t a problem because “a lot of people get hit by hammers.” Meanwhile, Musk is in Romania at the Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle), associated with legendary ruler of Wallachia Vlad the Impaler, for a Halloween party. 

Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, has a new toy to compete with far-right Parler; he closed his $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter and immediately set out to destroy the company.

If you want to join Musk, do nothing. If, however, you are opposed to the increased hate speech and lies under the guise of “free speech,” here are some alternatives:

  • Reset your privacy settings: Directions.
  • Find other companies: Mastodon or the projected Bluesky, initially created in 2019, from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
  • Read the news: Put a news aggregation app on your phone’s homepage, including local events. An RSS reader allows you to make your own list of outlets through apps like Feedly, Newsity, or Inoreader.
  • Sign up for newsletters: Many are on Substack, Medium, Patreon, and Ko-fi or other big social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
  • Forge personal relationships: WhatsApp, Signal, or Instagram.
  • Be part of a community: Facebook groups, subreddits, relevant Discord groups, or the app CounterSocial.
  • Get updates in an emergency: Agencies posting disasters on Facebook and pushing alerts to your phone. School or workplace alert systems and local alerts through state, city, or county agencies, many using Nixle.
  • Go to live audio: The audio chatroom app Clubhouse was the model for Twitter.
  • Enjoy nonstop scrolling: TikTok is the best Twitter replacement as are videos on Instagram Reels.
  • Stay safe: Be careful about giving new social networks or apps sensitive information such as your contacts, and check all privacy settings. Sign up with an alias email, strong password, and multi-factor authentication.
  • Staying with Twitter?: Protect your data, back up all your tweets and follow lists, delete sensitive DMs, delete old tweets, and lock down privacy and anti-harassment settings.

Called “Chief Twit,” Musk plans to take Twitter private so that he can transform the platform, including any content moderation policies and financial priorities, with less oversight from regulators and not disclosing performance updates.  The New York Stock Exchange has delisted Twitter shares. On the first full day, the company had been radically changed with expectations celebrated by the far-right and deplored by the left.

Musk has tweeted “Anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.” Expect a different definition of these “reasons” because abuse has already increased. For example, the use of the n-word increased almost 50 percent in Musk’s first 12 hours. Musk supporters are enjoying the opportunity to tweet profane slurs, racial epithets, and racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, and transphobic hate speech.

Musk’s changes in a day:

  • Cutting key staff: Fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and chief legal counsel Vijaya Gadde, costing Twitter $187 million. Twitter’s general counsel Sean Edgett was also fired.
  • Laying off workers: Asked managers to “draw up lists of employees to cut,” up to 75 percent of the 7,500 workforce.
  • Lifting bans: Hasn’t given any names, but Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) will likely switch from his failing Truth Social to spew his hatred and lies on Twitter.
  • Setting up a council to determine decisions.

The New York Post has already fired an employee for posting false and racist content targeting politicians. The tweet and fake news stories called for assassination of President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Other false tweets claimed GOP gubernatorial Lee Zeldin making violent statements about his opponent Gov. Kathy Hochul and making racial slurs about New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Another false tweet reported Gov. Greg Abbott, running for re-election, intending to “order Border Patrol to start slaughtering illegals.”

General Motors has suspended advertising on Twitter

Atlantic’s Charlie Warzel has laid out Twitter’s future under Musk’s “leadership”:

  • Outside hackers and/or hostile foreign governments focus hacking efforts on Twitter causing catastrophic breaches, loss of personal information, or extended outages.
  • A stripped-down trust-and-safety team cannot cope with government subpoenas or complex law-enforcement requests.
  • The trust-and-safety team cannot block coordinated efforts from fraudsters orchestrating low-level scams and combat or monitor child-sexual-abuse material, sex-trafficking efforts, nonconsensual pornography, and copyright violations.
  • An inexperienced engineer is unable to maintain the site’s functionality with no one to restore it, but the people with expertise in that area of site reliability are not there to help restore it.

General Motors has suspended advertising on Twitter, andsome celebrities are leaving,

Musk claims Twitter will “help humanity, whom I love” and help secure the “future of civilization.”

Even without the extreme push for violence has resulted in threats against election officials, politicians, and their families. Last year, the U.S. Capitol police reported almost 10,000 threats against lawmakers, almost triple of five years ago. Fifteen percent of election officials have reported threatening contact , and 20 percent of election workers are quitting for the same purpose.

On October 28, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband, 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, was viciously attacked in their San Francisco home while the Speaker was in Washington, D.C. David DePape broke a window to get into the home in his search for the speaker.The police came in answer to the 911 call and found DePape striking him with a hammer. Depape had wandered throughout the house (maybe like the January 6 insurrectionists) and then tried to tie up his victim. He said he was “waiting for Nancy.” Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and arm injuries.

 DePage’s long rambling blogs exhibited rambling screeds against minorities, politicians, and women with terms such as “pedogate, “great reset,” “voter fraud,” and “da jewbs.”  Like a large number of Republican, DePape is obsessed with lies about a stolen election, trans people, and deadly COVID vaccines. 

Elsewhere, his views strayed in extreme misogyny. In one post DePape wrote, “Woman [sic] are very problematic and should probably be banned from society” and in another argued that, “Children should be take [sic] away from mothers given to fathers and the mothers should be forced to pay child support.” DePape’s strongly anti-Semitic, pro-DDT, and anti-Democrat included pieces from Kanye West and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Friends considered DePape “out of touch with reality” for his beliefs similar to those of at least half the Republican party members. 

President Joe Biden said:

“What makes us think one party can talk about stolen elections, Covid being a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced? What makes us think that it’s not going to alter the political climate?”

Internet sites and social media platforms are celebrating or being used as a jumping-off point for more conspiracy theories, including claiming it is a false flag, a lie to promote Democrats’ elections.  Politically weaponizing the attack: DDT’s camp led the GOP charge to politically weaponize the attack on Paul Pelosi. Harmeet Dhillon, DDT’s newest lawyer, tweeted she found it “odd” that he would be vulnerable to assault because of the Pelosis’ security. The House Speaker was in Washington during the attack on her husband in their San Francisco home, and the home had no security. DDT was silent about the attack.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was horrified, but other Republicans were glib about the attack. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin decried violence but said that “we’re going to send [Pelosi] back to be with [her husband] in California,”and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) complained about the lack of sympathy he received from a neighbor he had offended. 

While most far-right politicians stayed largely silent, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green blamed the assault on “rampant” crime and violence “in Joe Biden’s America.” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) tweeted back:

“YOU called for Nancy Pelosi to be executed, @RepMTG. YOU said she should be hung for treason. And now that someone listened, you’re making Paul Pelosi’s attack about YOU. This is what Republicans stand for, America. It’s sick.”

Fox network followed Greene’s theme when Matthew Gertz tweeted the “crime hits everybody” with the blame on Biden who didn’t “bring us together.” Fox spreads lies about crime statistics. Conservatives are convinced of the lie that crime is up in the U.S.—perhaps because it is in red states—but statistics disprove the lie that Fox continues to push. “Violent victimization” is down for the past decade, and property crimes had not significantly increased. The change in percentage is the perception of crime, thanks to GOP lies.

Republicans badly want to blame Democrats for any violence, for example the accusation that a break-in to Secretary of State Katie Hobb’s campaign office for governor. The arrest of the burglar proves that Hobbs’ opponent Kari Lake was wrong.

This last week, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) gave Fox network the Champion of Freedom award from the Senate GOP campaign committee. It resembles a kitchen colander to drain foods and was first given to DDT a few months after the January 6 insurrection for “protecting our Constitution.” Scott may not have noticed that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), working on privacy in the digital age, handed out the first Champion of Freedom in 2004.

October 27, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Day 245

Russian President Vladimir Putin has one last chance to win his invasion of Ukraine—a GOP congressional takeover on November 8. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) suggested that the House would pull funding for the war if he becomes speaker. They would destroy Ukraine’s courageous struggle to keep its democracy at the same time that its troops are retaking land Russia started to occupy since its attack on February 24, 2022. Putin’s conscription attempts are bad to terrible, and men dragged onto the battle field are poorly equipped and badly trained. While Russian propaganda proposes Ukrainian genocide, the Russian attacks on Ukrainian power stations removing electricity from a million people has only increased Ukrainian resolve.

In the past, Republicans have exhibited friendship with Putin and Russia, and recent votes against aid for Ukraine has shows that continued Russian support by far-right congressional members. In a New Yorker interview with Isaac Chotiner, columnist Christopher Coldwell gave reasons for this GOP fondness for the brutal country trying to annihilate Ukrainians. The GOP sees Putin as an ally in their culture wars and the shared contempt for international institutions. They also admire Putin’s “macho nativist authoritarianism” and have been swayed by his trolling propaganda to influence U.S. elections in the past eight years.   

Fortunately, for Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-CA) opposes McCarthy’s position. McConnell called on President Joe Biden to expedite military aid to Ukraine and promised GOP senators will work to ensure “timely delivery of needed weapons.” There was no mention of McCarthy, but the difference was obvious.

Another reason for the far-right extremist attachment to Putin is his similarity to Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) and their similar goals. Maureen Dowd wrote:

“They would rather destroy their countries than admit they have lost. They have each created a scrim of lies to justify lunatic personal ambition. And while it should be easy to see through these lies, both cult-of-personality leaders are able to con and bully enough people to remain puissant.”

The strongmen who went into Ukrainian apartments with rifles and forced the occupants to vote in favor of the sham referenda annexing eastern Ukraine oblasts bear an alarming resemblance in dress and manner to the men stalking the Arizona ballot drop boxes.

Conservatives permiting Russia to overcome Ukraine and move across Europe will have the same danger as conservatives’ supporting Germany in the leadup to World War II. With other members of “America First,” Charles Lindbergh, the hero of many people in the U.S. for making the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, urged people to join Germany to preserve “our inheritance of European blood.” In 1940, editors of the conservative Wall Street Journal wrote that “our job today is not to stop Hitler [who had] already determined the broad lines of our national life at least for another generation.”

Famous U.S. manufacturers supported Germany’s efforts in his prewar preparations. In 1938, Henry Ford opened an assembly plant in Berlin to build “troop transport-style” vehicles for the German military, and both Ford and his chief executive received the Nazi Grand Cross of the German Eagle for “distinguished service.” GM built the “Blitz” truck in Berlin, used for German army blitzkreig attacks on Poland, France and the Soviet Union.   GM and Ford converted their Axis plant to production of military aircraft and trucks, building almost 90 percent of the armored “mule” 3-ton half-trucks and over 70 percent of the Reich’s medium and heavy-duty trucks which served as “the backbone of the German Army transportation system.” Ford provided access to huge quantities of raw materials, especially rubber, and GM gave Hitler the synthetic fuel technology. All the dealings were “extremely profitable.”

Eighty years later, blatant anti-Semitic attacks by leaders such as Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, and rapper Kanye West have resulted in the highest levels of harassment, vandalism, and violence toward Jews since the 1970s. Russians are donating millions of dollars to U.S. politicians—including DDT—through straw donors. Putin capitalized on U.S. political divisions with the statement that the West is divided into “traditional, mainly Christian values” and another—“aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, acting as the weapon of the neoliberal elite.”

The UN objected to a Russian argument that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cannot report to the Security Council regarding allegations Moscow is using Iran-made drones in Ukraine, violating a 2015 resolution. Tehran denies it supplied the drones, but they have been filmed in attacks. Russia also accused the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany of trying to exert influence over Guterres to investigate this use of drones. In addition, Russia may be advising Iran on ways to suppressing open demonstrations after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for not following Iran’s dress code.

Iranian troops are “directly engaged on the ground” in Crimea supporting Russian drone attacks on Ukraine’s power stations and other key infrastructure, according to the White House. Russians may need the Iranians to train them how to use their drones. Zelensky said that Russia had ordered 2,400 drones from Iran.

A senior Russian foreign ministry official threatened the U.S. and its allies with targeting their commercial satellites in return for their involvement in the Russian war against Ukraine. He may have been referring to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation, used by Ukrainian soldiers for communications, and synthetic aperture radar satellites tracking Russian troop and tank movements. The official made the same threat last month but may not have followed through because taking this action is difficult. In addition, Russians threaten to blow up a hydroelectric power plant in the Kherson region.

Russia also calls for the “de-Satanization” of Ukraine, a lie one step lower than their earlier goal of “de-Nazification” and reminiscent of the QAnon conspiracy theories in the U.S. Russian soldiers’ strategy to defeat Ukrainian civilians is to capture, torture, and then kill them in organized brutality throughout Russian occupied territory.

Ukraine is advancing on occupying Russian forces in Kherson despite heavy fighting. A Russian military blogger wrote, “I don’t exclude the surrender of Kherson [by the Russians].”

A recent discussion about nuclear-laced “dirty bombs” has been exacerbated by Russia’s letter to the UN with the evidence-free accusation that Ukraine plans to use them. While he spreads these lies, his military had an exercise of tests capable carrying nuclear warheads involving land, sea, and air. Videos of launches were published along with the defense minister’s claim that the tests were successful.

Earlier this week, Ukraine pushed back Wagner Group mercenaries operated by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Bakhmut, Donetsk, and seized a key highway in Luhansk. Prigozhin admitted slow progress amid “fierce enemy resistance.” Sergei Surovikin (aka General Armageddon), Russia’s new commander of the invasion in Ukraine known for his brutality, used the word “tense” in trying to retake southern and eastern Ukrainian regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin had claimed to annex through his coercive faux referenda. Russian troops are in danger of being pinned against the western bank of the 1,367-long Dnipro River bisecting Ukraine from north to south.

About trying to keep Kherson, Surovikin said, “The situation in this area is difficult.” He blames Ukraine for shelling infrastructure and residential buildings which Ukraine said was done by Russian military. Russians struggle to obtain supplies from the east because Ukrainians bombed the main bridge across the Dnipro and decided to ferry materials and equipment from the west bank of the Dnipro River to the eastern bank toward Russia. 

Syrian war crimes investigators may join crime victims in Ukraine to put Russian President Vladimir Putin into prison because he has used the same people, weapons, and tactics in both countries’ atrocities. In the command hierarchy, Putin is responsible for the crimes and its prosecution. Russia never agreed to be called up in the International Criminal Court, but Ukrainan courts or those in third countries could prosecute him. The U.S. could also declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism or support calls from Baltic states for an international tribunal to hold Putin and Russia accountable for the separate international crime of aggression used to prosecute Nazi criminals at Nuremburg. Putin’s international crimes have no statute of limitations.

A new shadow government in Belarus is planning to form a coalition with Ukraine to reduce Russia’s expansion after concerns that Russia will also invade Belarus. Taking Belarus allows Putin to move onto attacking Western Europe. Russia is sending about 9,000 troops and hundreds of armored vehicles for possible deployment.

In his latest escalation to the invasion, Putin has declared martial law in the four Ukrainian areas he annexed although he doesn’t occupy all the territory. He also ordered an “economic mobilization” in eight regions adjoining Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia invaded and annexed in 2014. In Russia, he gave additional powers to leaders of its 80+ regions to protect critical facilities, maintain public order and increase production in support of the war effort.

U.S. F-16 warplanes intercepted two Russian bombers within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone. It is a perimeter where air traffic is monitored beyond the border of national airspace to provide additional reaction time in case of hostile actions. A Russian jet also crashed into an apartment in Yeysk, a port town about 25 miles from Ukraine, while it was on a training mission. The death toll is at least 14, including three children.  

October 26, 2022

DDT’s Gubernatorial Endorsements Dangerous

Thirty-six states will elect governors in November, 20 of them held by Republicans. All nine states are currently held by women, and eight of the races are open. Seven states have only women candidates, and another four have female incumbents.

In Alaska, ranked choice voting voting means races can have four candidates, and Charlie Pierce, a Republican running against the GOP incumbent Mike Dunleavy, has been credibly charged with sexual harassment including unwanted physical touching. The other two candidates are a Democrat and an unaffiliated.

In Maryland, Dan Cox, DDT’s endorsement against existing Gov. Larry Hogan’s preference, was filmed accepting a gift from the Proud Boys, a group storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Cox organized buses to take people to Washington, D.C. on January 6. His website erased prominent references to DDT who held a fundraiser for Cox at Mar-a-Lago. The campaign for Cox’s opponent Wes Moore, has outraised Cox 10-to-1 in the state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. In early October, Moore was ahead, 60 percent to 28 percent. 

Two other DDT-endorsed gubernatorial candidates are more frightening.

In Arizona, Kari Lake displays the polish she gained as a TV news personality, and the state may provide enough MAGA crazies to vote her in, with a polling one percent ahead of her opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She describes her lies as facts, including the falsehood that Joe Biden lost the 2020 presidential election. Despite Arizona Republicans claiming “election integrity” by passing “one of the worst voter suppression laws in the nation” for the purported purpose of “election integrity,” Lake still declares election outcomes should be doubted, and she declines to accept a loss.

Lake also:

  • Threatens to cancel the Super Bowl if the NFL disagree with her immigration policies. She said, “I’m not going to be taking marching orders from the NFL.”
  • Accused China of poisoning people in Arizona with fentanyl in an attempt to “take down civilization,” apparently a reference to the 19th-century opium wars when Great Britain smuggled opium from India into China.
  • Told people not to take any precautions against COVID because “hydroxychloroquine works” and sells a t-shirt with the image of a burning mask.
  • Said that her opponent would be in jail by Election Day and promised she would criminally prosecute journalists who “dupe the public.”
  • Approved an ad from from an anti-Islam and anti-LGBTQ pastor who preaches the “submission of the wife.” 
  •  Thinks low majority votes for President Joe Biden should all be decertified to overturn his 2020 election.
  • Endorsed Oklahoma candidate Jarrin Jackson, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ nationalist extremist saying “Jews will go to hell” and LGBTQ is a “gateway to pedophilia.”
  • Announced her “team is triple-confirming … some really painful hurtful news” about her opponent that would shake up the race. The new, which turned out to be wrong, was that Hobbs fought to keep the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution out of Arizona’s public school classrooms. The 2018 law added the state motto to Lake’s cited documents already permitted to be read or posted in classrooms. Lake and her team can’t read a state statute, and she’s never held any elected office.
  • Used footage of Russian troops marching in a “victory parade” in her political ad when she says she will “stand with Arizona’s border sheriffs.”
  • Said Arizona’s strict anti-abortion1864 law will put more rapists in jail but didn’t explain how.
  • Accepted hundreds in donations from people convicted of serious sex offenses while accusing LGBTQ people of “grooming” children.
  • Worried academicians with threats of “cleaning up show” at Arizona State University.

On Indigenous People’s Day, Lake’s campaign manager compared all Native Americans to bloodthirsty savages who engage in human sacrifice in a tweet with an image of human sacrifice by an ancient Mesoamerican civilization thousands of miles from Arizona.

Arizonans are filing complaints about voter harassment. Two armed and masked men wearing tactical gear staked out a drop box in Maricopa County and left only after the police were called. Local sheriffs tried to intervene in a standoff between the armed men and people observing the watchers, and several voters reported being intimidated at the same location. Mark Finchem, candidate for secretary of state, sent people to “watch all drop boxes” and repeated the lie that voters dropping off ballots were “ballot mules,” from the lies in the movie 2000 Mules, and covering their license plates. People are doing so for personal safety, and the men in masks also covered up their license plates. Writing about Clean Elections USA run by QAnon election conspiracist Melody Jennings, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino filed complaints that that “vigilante groups have already turned away voters.”

Lies about election fraud led to anonymous violent threats using vile obscene language targeting Arizona’s election officials. Threatening letters to the Democratic party stated that judges not fully sentencing election fraud will be “dealt with” as a traitor. Letters also threaten to publish personal details of judges and sheriffs. The state is at the top for threats against these officials and poll workers which includes photographing them and following them.

In North Carolina, election officials in at least 15 counties have reported violations of poll watchers harassing voters and trying to get into restricted areas to view confidential voting records.

In Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano could be even more dangerous as governor because he also selects the secretary of state, in charge of elections. He promised to pick one who would certify DDT. Mastriano is so scary that GOP leaders support his Democratic opponent, Josh Shapiro, and a GOP organization is posting billboards asking people to vote for Shapiro.

Mastriano:

  • Wants to prosecute women for murder if they have abortions.
  • Claims that banning books is “not a book ban.”
  • Calls any book mentioning LGBTQ people “pornographic.”
  • Promises to ban “pole dancing” in the schools “on day one” but can’t name any school teaching pole dancing—because there aren’t any.
  • Plans to fund private schools with public school funding and eliminate school property taxes.
  • Hopes to de-register all approximately nine million registered voters in Pennsylvania and require them to register again.
  • Registered to vote in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania for 11 years.
  • Led a crowd at a rally in a “liberty oath,” swearing they would fight like in the Civil war to experience a “new birth” in Pennsylvania. Days before the January 6 insurrection, he called on fellow DDT supporters to “rise up” and overthrow the government.
  • Sued the House January 6 investigative committee for interviewing him.
  • Asked for “40 days of fasting and prayer” to support his campaign. The Christian nationalist averages 8.6 points behind Shapiro.

At the University of New Brunswick, a U.S. history professor declared Mastriano’s Ph.D. was undeserved and his dissertation about World War II soldier Alvin York atrocious academic work—dishonest, sloppy, fanatical, and tinged with religious zealotry. During his “research,” Mastriano ruined an archeological site in France and then used his degree to deflect criticism for his wearing a Confederate uniform in a faculty photo at the Army War College. The professor said the fanaticism and indifference to facts are apparent in the candidate’s public life. The university hid Mastriano’s 2013 dissertation, even its title, until last August. Some of the “fraudulent” fabrications.

Mastriano holds mostly closed events, keeps reporters away from him at public events, and hires the Christian militia and former Oath Keepers for his security team. Several of them from the Lifegate Church in Elizabethtown (PA) may not have received the training requiring by state law. His church’s mission is to control government by electing their Christians, and the property has political yard signs. Members gained seven seats on the local GOP committee which some describe as “a hostile takeover.” Three days before the January 6 insurrection, a social media post connected to the Pennsylvania Oath Keepers, split from the national group in 2015, alluded to armed veterans violently resisting election results.

“Prophet” Julie Green, head of Green Ministries who receives direct prophecies from God, says she has a “special relation” with Mastriano. Some of her other claims: Biden is not alive, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) drinks “children’s blood”; God will execute political figures; Rep. Ilhan Omar is “a spy”; and several prominent lawmakers who failed DDT will soon die. Green promises not to “forsake” Mastriano.

Back in Georgia, a second woman claims anti-abortion Herschel Walker, the GOP U.S. Senate candidate from Georgia, pressured her to get an abortion. As in the first case, Walker denied the allegation from his ex-girlfriend. He had a six-year relationship with her while he was married. Despite his anti-Christian actions, evangelical voters support him because they only want to take the Senate. Walker, GOP also sent his supporters a flyer urging early voting—with the wrong date. His one debate with opponent Sen. Raphael Warnock showed he is trainable: his comments were less garbled.

Walker has company carrying a fake police badge: MyPillow Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell brandished his own badge at DDT’s October 21 rally in Texas when he told people not to vote before Election Day. If anyone is accused of already voting, he said, “Go to your local sheriff.” He concluded, “Sheriffs and judges … are gonna bring this country back. They gave me a badge. I’m semi-official.”

October 25, 2022

Week’s News – October 25, 2022

Liz Truss is out as British prime minister, and Rishi Sunak is in. Fewer than 200 votes conservative MPs made him leader of 67 million people. Gone on the first day is 40 percent of Truss’ 30-person cabinet. The longevity of the anti-immigration, anti-low-income class positions from the wealthy immigrant raises the question of which fruit or vegetable will appear next to his photograph. Sunak was largely responsible for ousting former PM Boris Johnson but had to wait almost two months until Truss came, served, and left before he could take over. The deal was cemented when Sunak met with King Charles III. Almost exactly 75 years after India gained independence from British rule, a British-Indian now rules the United Kingdom.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis might have been better off if he had refused to debate his Democratic opponent, former Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist. After DeSantis refused to answer Crist’s question about whether he would serve the entire four-year term, the wannabe 2024 presidential candidate lost the October 24 debate, 63 percent to 37 percent from 65,000 respondents, to Crist, according to the informal online poll by local NBC affiliate WFLA. Crist also slammed the misuse of taxpayer funds in DeSantis’ “horrible political stunt” of flying 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, now being investigated by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

During the debate, DeSantis struggled with defending his policies after Crist called him “the most anti-business governor I’ve ever seen.” Crist pointed out the governor’s attacks on the cruise industry for requiring vaccines, on Disney for expressing its point of view about the “don’t say gay” bill, and on the DeSantis order to not invest funds in “woke” corporations which blocked pension fund managers from using environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings when determining investments.

In the land of book banning, anti-LGBTQ parents recruited by Gov. Ron DeSantis are training Florida school librarians in what books to censor. Bipartisan school boards submissions are rejected despite the applicants’ qualifications in favor of members from Moms for Liberty (M4L). Michelle Beavers wants statewide bans on titles, calling them a “felony.” M4L has offered bounties for people turning in teachers who discuss “divisive topics,” attacked the Trevor Project for trying to prevent LGBTQ suicide, tried to ban a book about seahorses for being too sexy, and said that two girls briefly kissing at a school function is “lewd” and “traumatic.” Another “trainer,” Jennifer Pippin, was nominated by the founder of Florida Citizens Alliance that provides lists of “objectionable” school texts accusing them of promoting Islam, socialism, sex, LGBTQ identity, evolutionary science, climate change, and gun control.

The Kanye West scandal has eaten up so much of the media that I’ll join the fray. The white supremacist, anti-Semite Black rapper has gone over the edge so far that Adidas, which “Ye” claimed would never drop him, dropped him. Along with talent agency CAA, record label Def Jam, CAA, Balenciago, and who knows how many more companies. Adidas provides a large share of West’s wealth. Products related to West are removed from stores because, as Gap state, “antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values.” Adidas agreed:

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Jeremy Zimmer, CEO and co-founder of talent agency UTA, asked staff to “please support the boycott of Kanye West,” and the Endeavor talent agency’s CEO Ari Emanuel said companies that make money from West like Spotify and Apple should drop him. Twitter and Instagram restricted him for his posts, and bank JPMorgan Chase earlier severed ties. George Floyd’s family said they intent to sue West for $250 million for his podcast lie that Floyd was killed by fentanyl.

The evidence-free battle about furries continues! A North Carolina school board is more worried about children wearing furry costumes to school than the shortage of teachers and considered a proposal to ban any furry clothing including gloves and collars. The superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools said he spends hours responding to emails and social media about the false  rumor of kitty litter boxes and furry outfits, but a school board member ignored him. The entire rumor started from GOP politicians who oppose trans students, and at least one of the rumor-mongers, a losing candidate for Nebraska governor, had to admit his claims were false. “Christian” hate pastors are spreading the same lies.

Social Security Inspector General Gail Ennis, appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), continues to persecute whistleblowers although DDT has left the White House. In 2019, senior Social Security officials Joscelyn Funnié and Deborah Shaw, who exposed hundreds of thousands of dollars against 100 disabled and poor elderly people without due process or federal regulations, were put on paid leave. Eventually reinstated, they were shunned in assignments, shut out of meetings, and denied any chance of advancement.

Funnié was fired 11 months later, only returning to work as a “special adviser,” in late 2021 after an investigation was opened. During the first six weeks after her return, her only assignment was to read two books on resilience and spirituality. She was then assigned a job requiring auditing and another designing a logo, both skills she lacks, and her supervisor requires his permission before she speaks with colleague. She wrote that Ennis and her staff “pretend I don’t exist.”

In early 2020, Shaw returned to work but was demoted without staff and faced the 45-day unpaid suspension that Ennis mandated. A judge ruled that she is the victim of “whistleblower reprisal” by Ennis’s office with “motive to retaliate” against her. He ordered Shaw receive back pay, return to her supervisory role, and remove potential for a suspension. Ennis’ appeal put the ruling on hold except for the return of her former rank. Ennis’ counsel, coordinator of the Social Security’s whistleblower protection program who retaliated against Shaw, is her supervisory, controlling all her work actions. Shaw is prevented from her former responsibilities in anti-fraud, reprimanded for helping colleagues asking for advice on a fraud case, and assigned to write a legal opinion on the soundness of starting a book club to improve morale on Ennis’s staff. Ennis’s office is last in 432 federal departments in the most recent survey of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.

A California county judge has ruled that another bakery may discriminate against same-gender couples in refusing to make a wedding cake because of her “beliefs about that the Bible teaches marriage.” The baker wants the community to “grow together.” The Bible doesn’t mention same-sex marriage, and Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. The seven verses in the Bible typically used to condemn homosexuality refer to male ritual sex, rape, and molestation. The good book does approve of polygamy, husbands taking concubines, and treatment of women as property to be traded or sold.

A second DDT-appointed judge has upheld Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law in schools for the second time, despite proof of largely increased bullying since the law went into effect. She declared that bullying is “a fact of life,” opposing the precedent of school’s’ constitutional obligation to “protect students from targeted bullying and harassment based on who they are.”

California-based Fox network is in worse shape for the $4.3 billion defamation lawsuits from Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic about Fox “reporters” lying about their equipment helping to elect Joe Biden as president. The falsehood has been completely discredited, and bigger problems came from the discovery that Viet Dinh became Fox’s top legal officer in September 2018 but wasn’t licensed to practice law in California until June 2022 despite efforts to clear up the problem.   

Dinh claimed California’s state bar lost his application and COVID delayed his application, but the bar rejected these claims. He was paid $12 million last year, partly to operate the business. Plaintiffs could ask for some of Dinh’s communications not related to his legal responsibilities. The case is not going well: motions failed to dismiss both cases and the replacement of Fox’s outside team. Fox’s retention of internal emails has dropped to 13 months as of July 1, 2022, another reflection of the company’s legal worries. One discovery was an email from Fox News president Suzanne Scott indicating she knew the network aired airing false claims, leaving her taking the blame if necessary. Thus far, Fox maintains it only repeats allegations from others.

In an Australian court, court CEO Lachlan Murdoch is the plaintiff in a libel case against a local publication, Crikey, publishing a column concluding that “the Murdochs and their slew of poisonous Fox News commentators are the unindicted co-conspirators of this continuing crisis.” Last week, a judge ruled that Murdoch must explain his person view of who won the 2020 election and Fox clips could be played in court—against the wishes of Murdoch’s lawyers.

Republicans are still trying to define a woman. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), facing a difficult re-election, said women are “the lesser vessel,” needing “masculinity in our lives to balance that … weakness.” Herschel Walker, GOP candidate for Georgia’s U.S. senator, has another definition:

“If you can’t have, you can’t produce, uhhhh, a child, you’re a man.”

In the U.S. approximately 18 percent of females between the ages of ten and 49 can “produce, uhhh, a child.” That leaves the remaining 82 percent of the population men. At least according to Walker.

October 24, 2022

SCOTUS Justice Favors Graham, Other Rulings

British Prime Minister Update: Since yesterday, Penny Mordaunt has dropped out of the race, leaving Rishi Sunak the leader for Britain’s third leader in under two months.

The Supreme Court is not hearing arguments for a couple of week, but justices are making decisions. Justice Clarence Thomas just saved Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) from the horrors of testifying to the Fulton County (GA) grand jury, at least temporarily. The jury is investigating the attempts of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his allies—including Graham—to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Thomas’ edict reverses a unanimous decision from a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court, two of them DDT appointees; Graham claims that sitting senators are exempt from any questions about the events.

The jury is seeking information about Graham’s phone calls after the election to Georgia Secretary of State and his staff when he talked about absentee ballots and voter fraud. Graham has been dodging the subpoena for his testimony for several months, claiming that his calls to Georgia were part of his job. A district judge ruled that Graham couldn’t be asked about the election certification, but other topics such as the reason for raising the issues and his communication with DDT were acceptable for questioning. Thomas was able to temporarily block the subpoena because he is assigned to the 11th Circuit Court covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. A justice can unilaterally act on a stay or submit it to the court for a vote.

Once again, Thomas has proved his conflicts of interest. His wife was part of the plot to overturn the presidential election, the subject of Graham’s subpoena, and Thomas made the decree regarding without support of any other justices. Although the Supreme Court justices have no code of ethics, a justice is legally required to recuse themself for a conflict of interest.

Thomas’ refusal to save DDT in the Mar-a-Lago document fiasco was a flip from his protection of Graham. DDT had delivered a request to the conservative justice, asking the Supreme Court to permit his special master to review 100 classified documents seized from DDT’s club instead of turning them over to the FBI. The 11th Circuit Court overturned the order from DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon to give the materials to the special master. Last January, all the justices except Thomas refused to block the disclosure of presidential records from the National Archives to the House January 6 investigating committee.

The Supreme Court vacated the 3rd Circuit Court ruling that Pennsylvania could count undated mail-in ballots. The law requires the voter to put the date on the envelope. The former decision can no longer be used as a precedent in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to permit counting of ballots with such errors. The high court did not deal with permission for voters to go to the Board of Elections to “cure” ballots by adding the date, signing a security envelope, or other provisions.

In November, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio will be using gerrymandered congressional districts that courts have rejected, districts that may be proved illegal at trial. The rationale is supposedly that changing voting rules cannot be changed close to an election after a 2006 Supreme Court case, Purcell v. Gonzalez.

In an extension of the redistricting conflict, Louisiana Republicans want to redefine a Black voter to exclude anyone who identify with another race—a “pure” view of racial identity. In Ardoin v. Robinson, Republican officials argued that Blacks are limited to only those who check just the Black box or both Black and White and do not identify as Latino. Alabama had already dropped the idea before taking their lawsuit to the Supreme Court. GOP success would almost entirely eliminate the use of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to challenge district maps. The topic hasn’t been up for a debate since the 2003 ruling overturning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and was considered settled.

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case from Rhode Island in which a Catholic group and two women attempted to overturn a lower court’s ruling. The plaintiffs want the state’s abortion-rights law declared unconstitutional because it doesn’t give 14th Amendment legal standing for fetuses. A 2019 Georgia law grants fetal personhood to embryos at six weeks of pregnancy; pregnant women can claim them dependents on tax returns.

SCOTUS permitted the execution last Thursday of a severely mentally ill man in Oklahoma who killed his nine-month-old daughter two decades ago. Benjamin Cole is the second execution of 25 planned executions through 2024, one a month. Although the state has a history of painfully botched lethal injections, that process was used. A 1986 Supreme Court ruling found the execution of the severely mentally ill to be unconstitutional; Oklahoma state law blocks executions of people who are insane. Cole lives in a largely “catatonic” state, not understand legal proceedings, and uses a wheelchair.

The conservative Supremes are preferential toward executions. Recently, they kept Andre Lee Thomas, a 21-year-old Black man, on death row despite his ineffectual defense, racial bias, and a mentally ill defendant. Thomas was declared incompetent to stand trial for 47 days until a psychiatrist stated he suffered from a drug-induced psychosis. Later, the defense attorney said not challenging the letter was a mistake. An all-white jury, four of whom openly opposed interracial relationships, convicted him.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett also declined a request to halt the federal judge’s ruling permitting President Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan to continue. The lower federal court in Wisconsin determined that the plaintiff, the Brown County Taxpayers Association, lacked standing. The judge said that merely paying taxes is not sufficient to challenge federal actions. In St. Louis, another federal judge dismissed a challenge to the program from six GOP-led states, again on the basis that the states lacked standing.

An appeal from the St. Louis case to the 8th Circuit Court brought the program to a temporary halt, however, until the court rules on an emergency request by the six GOP states to block the policy. Briefs regarding the case are due to the 8th Circuit Court by October 24 and 25. The White House asked borrowers to continue to apply, adding to the at least 22 million who have already done so. The process of review applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers can take place during the hiatus. Only one of the 11 active judges on the 11th Circuit Court was appointed by a Democratic president, Barack Obama. Of the remaining ten, DDT appointed four, George W. Bush 5, and George H.W. Bush one.  

In a case on October 12, 2022, Helix Energy Solutions Group argued that employee Michael Hewitt, paid by the day, didn’t deserve overtime because he made over $200,00 a year. Exempt from overtime are executives, administrators, and other professional categories. A lower court agreed with Helix, and the 5th Circuit moved to the Hewitt’s side. The six conservative Supremes seemed to oppose the remaining justices in another continued attempt to overturn agency “power.”

On the same day, arguments in Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith debated whether Andy Warhol legally used Lynn Goldsmith’s 1981 copyrighted photograph of Prince for his 1984 screenprints. When Vanity Fair’s image of Warhol’s Orange Prince on a 2017 special issue, Goldsmith wasn’t credited or paid. The Warhol Foundation received $10,000 for its use. In 2021, the 2nd Circuit Court ruled in favor of Goldsmith, overturning a New York federal judge’s ruling in 2019 that Warhol’s series was fair use. The question before the Supreme Court is whether changing the source material’s meaning creates fair use.

On Fridays, the Supreme Court justices determine which petitions for appeal they will accept, usually rejecting 98 percent of them which leaves lower courts’ decisions intact. At least four justices must agree whether to take the case, and the conservative majority wants to go big, aggressively moving the county in a far-right direction as shown by last year’s overturning Roe v. Wade. The remaining three progressive justices don’t even have the numbers to determine what cases will be heard; they can only dissent. Chief Justice John Roberts prefers small incremental rightward movement, but he’s no longer in charge.

Republicans still slam Democrats for “activist judges,” but the GOP is now responsible for the radical changes to the right. Expectations for the term are to eliminate affirmative action, continue narrowing the Voting Rights Act, and permit discrimination based on “free speech” and “religious freedom.”

The decisions evidence a strong MAGA movement at the current Supreme Court because of its emphasis on white grievances. According to the conservative Supremes, the 14th Amendment to protect minority rights forbids a more equal society and allows them to chip away at the Voting Rights Act. The argument is always “racism is over.” Five more cases are already scheduled for the upcoming docket that can elevate white supremacy, one of them already heard on October 4.

Ruth Marcus wrote, “Never before in the court’s history has the ideological alignment of the justices tilted so heavily to one extreme.”

October 23, 2022

News – Week Ending October 23, 2022

Update on possibility of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) testifying live to House January 6 investigate committee: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said this won’t happen; DDT won’t be allowed to turn his testimony into a “circus” or a “food fight.” About House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) announcement he may take military aid from Ukraine, Cheney accused him of becoming “the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party” and added that McCarthy “always chooses to serve his own political purpose.” After McCarthy’s mentor DDT put the U.S. a further $8 trillion into debt, McCarthy said he must “eliminate wasteful spending.”

By now, the resignation of Liz Truss as prime minister after 44 days, the shortest term for any British PM, is old news. The head of lettuce won, lasting longer than she did when the contest began a week earlier. The event ended in a fanfare of colored lights and messages of congratulations for the crowned lettuce as Truss’ photo was laid down to the sound of “God Save the King.” Celebratory alcohol was provided by the lettuce joined by fruit and vegetable friends. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci for 11 days, 33 days fewer than Truss, praised her after she “outlasted the milk in the refrigerator.”  

Truss’ resignation leaves her with the possibility of $129,000 for any business expenses and another almost $100,000 pension, available to any PM lasting over 42 days, and depending on how well the British pound does after her departure. She can add that to her net worth of almost $10 million. Traumatized by former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ 44 days in office, the British public now must cope with who will assume leadership.

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin described Truss’ failure in six weeks and concluded:

“If you like what Brexit and Truss have done for the British economy, vote Republican. If you prefer prosperity, then don’t.

Her warning is reminiscent of Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s question in 2000 before George W. Bush lowered taxes and started two wars:

“What are you afraid of? Four more years of prosperity?”

Rishi Sunak, who lost to Truss, has again thrown his hat into the ring despite tax scandals for both himself and his wife, Akshata Murty. Together they are worth £730 million, over twice the assets of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. Runak and Murty keep their money, he with a U.S. green card until last year promising to become a citizen and paying less taxes and she with her non dom classification, permitting her to pay an annual maximum of £30,000 a year instead of taxes on foreign income. She has saved millions of pounds on taxes for her dividends in her father’s firm, India-based Infosys, which did business with Russia after British sanctions because of the invasion of Ukraine.  

Upsetting senior Tories, former PM Boris Johnson flew back to Britain to drum up support for another win. Without sufficient support, Johnson changed his mind and said that he couldn’t govern with a unified party. In a BBC poll of 357 conservative MPs, only 227 were willing to go public with their support, Johnson came out far below Sunak. The runner-up ran against Truss last time.

  • Rishi Sunak – 146 MPs
  • Boris Johnson – 57 MPs
  • Penny Mordaunt – 24 MPs

Only Mordaunt and Sunak have announced they are running. A candidate requires at least 100 votes from MPs. If over two receive 100 or more votes, the one with the fewest number of votes is eliminated from the race. Conservative MPs then vote their preference between the two, and the candidates are then sent to the conservative party members who vote online. Last time, Truss was selected with 81,326 votes (57.4 percent) in a country with a population of over 67 million.

Fed up with gun violence in Canada, much less than in the U.S., Canada is banning the sale, purchase, and transfer of all handguns within the country and cannot bring them from outside the country. The bill was introduced after 19 children were killed in Uvalde (TX) on May 24, 2022. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:

“Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship.”

A government buyback for assault-style rifles is planned, and further restrictions in Bill C-21 are being debated in the House of Commons.

Those who worry about President Joe Biden running again in 2024 at the age of 81 should consider that the GOP may elect a 90-year-old man to be third in succession for the president in 2022. He could hold that position for the next six years. Chuck Grassley could become President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, the position held by the most senior senator in the majority party. The current pro tem, 82-year-old Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is not seeking re-election. Resurgence against Grassley

Alaskan Republicans tried to do away with ranked choice voting in the state after Democrat Mary Peltola won the special election for U.S. House. The state Supreme Court rejected their constitutional challenge.

A Miami judge dismissed one rigged arrest by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of a man convicted in 1991 who voted in 2020 after a clerk told him he was eligible to register to vote. The other 18 voter prosecutions may meet the same fate. Videos of the arrests show police officers not understanding the offense. A state constitutional amendment restores voting rights to most people with felonies, but Republicans said that they were ineligible until they paid all fines and fees.

Texas state police Capt. Joel Betancourt is under investigation because he ordered his officers to stay out of the school over 70 minutes while 19 children were massacred on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde (TX). State trooper Sgt. Juan Maldonado, the highest ranking officer at the scene at the Uvalde (TX) massacre of 19 children, was fired because he didn’t go into the building although arriving four minutes after the shooting began. He is the third law enforcement and first state police officer to be sacked for lack of response.

The postal service plans to implement “extraordinary measures” delivering ballots for 2022, compared to those measures opposing them two years. These new measures include extra deliveries and collections, special pickups, expanded hours at processing facilities, and fast-tracking ballots to election officials through and bypassing some standard mail processing procedures. Employees are also being trained to speed ballot deliveries. A joint task force between postal unions and management oversees ballot delivery. In a lawsuit settlement last year, the agency agreed to keep these measures for federal elections until at least 2028.

GOP Georgians have challenged 65,000 voter registrations this year regarding voting eligibility, but they can no longer do this with poll workers when voters are trying to cast their votes. About 97 percent of the challenges have been dismissed.  

A North Carolina judge has denied a GOP request to temporarily use signature-matching requirements for mail-in ballots; election officials must could these ballots even if the signature doesn’t exactly match the one on the voter registration record. County election boards will have the discretion to make the determination.

Federal officials will recognize Connecticut pardons as legally valid and stop deporting those pardoned for crimes by a state board. The decision reverses a hard-line stance from DDT’s administration that changed six decades of practice by singling out Connecticut. DDT didn’t reverse the same practice in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina, and Utah.

Same-gender spouses can qualify for a higher rate of survivor benefits requiring eight years of marriage even if they didn’t meet the mandate because of being unable to be married before the 2015 Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, according to the VA. The agency now begins the duration of the rights beginning with when the couple established a “marriage-type” relationships including commitment ceremonies, joint banking accounts, or joint purchase of a home. Benefits are now retroactive to October 11, 2022.  

Last week, that Elon Musk told prospective investors in his deal to buy Twitter that he planned to get rid of nearly 75 percent of the company’s 7,500 workers. https://www.reuters.com/technology/twitters-workforce-likely-be-hit-with-massive-cuts-coming-months-report-2022-10-20/      Twitter said it isn’t true, but the current management planned to trim the payroll by $800 million, one-fourth of the workforce.

The EPA plans to investigate allegations of racist federal spending in Mississippi causing the Jackson city’s water system disaster. The state is suffering from another scandal, this one when former NFL player Brett Favre and several other individuals allegedly received tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money intended for low-income families. GOP Gov. Tate Reeves has joked about his preference for whiter Hattiesburg over Jackson, 82 percent Black, while the water crisis in Jackson was dire. Leaders of two congressional committees are also starting a joint investigation into the crisis leaving most homes and businesses in Jackson without running water for several days in late August and early September.  NAACP President Derrick Johnson lives in Jackson with his family,

 Michigan opponents to an anti-abortion ballot proposal, Proposal 3, have found a new way to force child-birth on women by keeping a 1931 law: they falsely claim the measure to retain “reproductive rights” permits transgender minors can get sterilized by repealing parental consent laws.

October 22, 2022

DDT’s Troubles Multiply

The House January 6 investigative committee has issued a formal subpoena for testimony and documents from Deposed Donald Trump (DDT): November 4 is the deadline for materials related to DDT’s efforts to overturn the election, and November 14 is the closing date for his testimony. Part of the 10-page statement from Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY):

“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multipart effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power.”

Steve Bannon’s four-month prison sentence for refusing a subpoena, the first conviction for contempt of Congress, is an example if DDT doesn’t show up. Bannon is upset about even a light sentence from a DDT-appointed judge for his crime and called it “radically partisan.” Supposedly DDT told advisers he’d be willing to testify live before the committee, but they don’t expect him to follow through.

DDT can delay the subpoenas through the courts as he usually does, “testify” by using the Fifth Amendment not to answer which incriminates him, refuse the subpoena in contempt of court making him look like a coward, or answer questions—which has a one percent of doing. Any one of the four leaves him open to criminal proceedings.

Nineteen categories of document requests including communications with Roger Stone, former Secret Service agent Anthony Ornato, attorneys John Eastman and Sidney Powell, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), and over a dozen other officials, associates, and members of extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. The committee also wants the “information sufficient to identify every telephone or other communications device” DDT used from November 3, 2020, to January 20, 2021 and specifies communications conducted on Signal—an encrypted phone messaging application—on any personal devices, or any communications conducted by any other means.

Some of DDT’s alleged actions in the committee’s three-page letter to him:

“Purposely and maliciously disseminating false allegations of fraud,” “attempting to corrupt the Department of Justice,” “illegally pressuring state officials and legislators,” “orchestrating and overseeing” the fake-electors scheme,” “corruptly pressuring your own Vice President,” “pressuring Members of Congress to object to valid slates of electors from several states,” “filing false information, under oath, in federal court,” and summoning and deploying his followers “knowing they were angry and some were armed.”

“In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any U.S. President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself.”

Requesting a president to testify before Congress is not unprecedented. After they left office, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford testified. President Richard Nixon provided evidence in response to congressional subpoenas, and sitting presidents Abraham Clinton and Bill Clinton testified. President Roosevelt explained:

“An ex-President is merely a citizen of the United States, like any other citizen, and it is his plain duty to try to help this committee or respond to its invitation.”

The public now knows that some of the highly sensitive documents seized left lying around at Mar-a-Lago included intelligence about Iran and China, one about Iran’s missile program, that could expose methods of gathering information necessary to keep hidden. Leaks could cause retaliation against the U.S. Some of the documents are so sensitive that FBI personnel and DOJ attorneys “required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.” Classified documents are still missing, according to the National Archives. Maybe at his Bedminster golf resort?  

Fox network compared these materials to “mementos” and compared them to “overdue library books.” DDT has returned to the National Archives and the FBI of trying to frame him by planting the documents.

No criminal referral to the DOJ has been issued—yet. But the DOJ doesn’t have to have a recommendation from Congress to indict DDT.

DDT is also squabbling with his own “special master,” Raymond Dearie, about whether a few records are “personal” and “privileged.” In a phone call with both sides, Dearie said he didn’t understand how DDT could claim records are in both categories. DDT claims that documents, including immigration policies, are his personal property, but the DOJ disagrees. The agency asserts that all documentary materials created or received by a president, his staff, or his office in the course of official activities are government property and thus should go to the National Archives. Dearie said that DDT’s legal team hadn’t provided substance to explain his claims. DOJ said that a former president cannot use executive privilege to keep executive branch materials from executive branch criminal investigators. DDT hadn’t designated documents as personal while in the White House.

After reviewing hundreds of attorney John Eastman’s emails, which he claimed were “privileged,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter determined the committee may have some of them because they were “sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.” One email informed DDT that some of his allegations and voter fraud “evidence” in the Georgia election lawsuit were wrong. Last March, Carter had ruled that DDT and Eastman “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history.”

DDT knew there was no stolen election, no huge voter fraud. Yet he has lied for two years and fed the same lies to his chosen candidates. Much to the frustration of GOP leadership, he warns Republicans against early and mail-in voting, telling them to wait until Election Day to cast their ballots. According to Carter, Eastman cannot keep confidential communication private because they were part of an attempt to commit a crime or fraud. Carter concluded the communications were to further illegal conduct.

One of the emails from former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann responded to a comment about his edits in Eastman’s emails:

“I will review now. I didn’t send John edits, I explained that I was concerned about the President signing a verification about facts that may not be sustainable upon detailed scrutiny.” 

The newly-revealed emails confirm that DDT signed a court statement under oath, verifying his lies about voter fraud. The bogus “evidence” was used to push the insurrection, incite violence used in attempts to overturn the election, and elect DDT’s chosen candidates in the primary. Other documents prove that DDT’s lawsuits in swing states were only to delay the Electoral College results certification, not for legal relief.

DDT has used his Truth Social to lambast the judiciary. He called Carter a “partisan hack” and judges in John Durham’s inability to find DDT’s supposed truth “biased.” To Republicans, all their failures are a fraud. After DDT quietly sat for a deposition in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, he reposted pieces from Rumble to smear her and repeated the insults about her that led to the defamation lawsuit, leading to more proof for Carroll’s claims.

Considering Tony Ornato a “person of interest,”the House committee plans to interview the former Secret Service official and then White House Deputy Chief of Staff, despite his resignation from the government.  resigned after stalling on a second interview. The concerns were whether Secret Service agents refused to drive DDT to the Capitol on January 6 and the accusation that DDT’s supporters were armed at the rally. Documents support these claims that the Secret Service denied in more lies to federal investigators.

In a newly released audio from by journalist Bob Woodward, DDT claims better rapport with world leaders who are “tougher and meaner.” He talked about liking Russian President Vladimir Putin and gets along well with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan although he commented that people say he’s a “horrible guy.”

For almost two hours, DDT rehashed his whining lies Saturday during a rally at the fairgrounds in Robstown (TX), including the “stolen election” and plans to sue the Pulitzer Prize board because of its 2018 awards for reporting the Russian interference. He’s having trouble finding venues for his rants: GOP operatives fear he’s alienating some voters, and the numbers at his rallies have been shrinking.

AG Letitia James finally served DDT for a $250 million lawsuit in New York state after he avoided process servers for three weeks. She finally got a court order permitting her to send them electronically. Oral arguments are set for October 31 to determine if the Trump Organization immediately needs an independent financial monitor that he appoints and oversees. DDT is also trying to shelter his assets by forming a new business, Trump Organization II, and possibly move it out of state. His lawyer Alina Habba has failed in moving the case to Manhattan’s Commercial Division. 

An early employee of Trump Media & Technology Group’s (TMTG) Will Wilkerson stated that DDT, who already had 90 percent of shares in the parent company for Truth Social, pressured executives to give their shares to his wife, Melania Trump, despite their losses in taxes. He fired one of them who refused. Both DDT’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, book equity from TMTG employees. CEO Devin Nunes, formerly DDT’s congressional leaker with no technological experience, also caused employees to quit because he berated them and brought in loyalists.

 The editorial board of Rupert Murdoch’s very conservative Wall Street Journal wrote that DDT should be held to account for his attack on democracy. A conservative voter posted her comment about the GOP: “Where is the honor? Where is the integrity?”

October 21, 2022

Corporate Profits Lead to Inflation

With the election only 17 days away, Republicans—especially the “party of Trump (POT)—concentrate on three campaign subjects: crimes, taxes, and inflation. Their lies:

Lie #1: Crime is rising because Democrats are “soft on crime.”

  • Facts: Violent crime rose from 2019 to 2020, the last year of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), at the same time gun homicides went up 35 percent.
  • The highest percentage of the gun crime surge came in states following GOP policies, weakening gun laws to make them highly available and protecting their huge donors, gun manufacturers. 
  • Democratic-run major cities that spent 38 percent more on policing per person than Republican-run cities, and 80 percent of the largest cities increased police funding from 2019 to 2022.
  • Re-arrest rates remained stables wherever bail reforms were implemented, and major cities’ data shows no connection between progressive prosecutors and changes in crime rates.
  • In a gubernatorial debate, Oklahoma’s GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt attempted to laugh off his state’s crime statistics: Oklahoma’s homicide rate of 9 deaths per 100,000 compared to 6.1 in California and 4.7 in New York. His opponent is seven points ahead.

Lie #2: Democrats are hiring 87,000 IRS agents to audit and harass the middle class.

  • Facts: The new law, that Republicans plan to immediately repeal, are looking for ultra-wealthy tax cheats with the advantage of multiple accounts and lawyers hiding their taxable incomes.
  • Audit rates for people making under $400,000 will stay the same.
  • Funding only starts to take IRS staffing back to before 2010, when Republicans reduced the staff by about 30 percent despite an increase of the population filing tax returns.

Lie #3: Policies of Democrats and President Joe Biden, including the spending and wage increases, are responsible for the high rate of inflation for the past year.

  • While in charge, DDT and the GOP dropped taxes and spent so “bigly” that the national debt increased $7.8 billion during DDT’s term.
  • Biden’s first complete fiscal year cut the U.S. deficit in half, $1,375 trillion, the biggest decrease in history.  
  • Facts: Government heavy spending began a year before Biden was inaugurated to alleviate the ravages of COVID.
  • Wages increased at a lower pace than prices.
  • DDT’s and the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and big business are adding at least $400 billion to the deficit every year. 

The Hill, a conservative publication, gives some reasons for the growing inflation that dropped to an annual rate of 8.2 percent in September:

  • A strong labor market with better work for higher pay.
  • Slow healing of supply chains from lack of production during the pandemic and increased gas prices.
  • Costs for both supplies and labor thanks to a mix of shortages and higher consumer demand. 
  • Delayed impact of rate hikes showing inflation reductions.

The reason accounting for at least half the increases in price increase, however, is greater profit margins for businesses through overcharging.  

Excerpts from Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), in her questioning of Mike Konczal, director of Macroeconomic Analysis at the Roosevelt Institute, who admitted that surging corporate profits are the current primary cause of inflation:

Porter: Biggest driver of inflation? Konczal: Corporate profits.

Porter: The percentage? Konczal: “54 percent and that number does stay that level of high if you update that number to more recent numbers as well.”

Porter: “Over half of the increased prices people are paying are coming from increases in corporate profits?” Konczal: Yes and “the unit price index is reflected in corporate profits as opposed to other costs.”

Porter: “How does that compare to, historically, other periods of inflation or over other periods of economic time?” Konczal: “Significantly higher in this recovery—11.5 percent.”

Porter: “What is it today?” Konczal: “53 percent.”

Porter: “What is a ‘unit labor cost’?” Konczal: “Cost in wages and associated work.”

Porter: “But we can just say wages. What is a ‘non-labor input cost’?’ Konczal: “A variety of things, including maintenance and investments.”

Porter summarized, and Konczal agreed: “Okay, so I have to buy the stuff to make the widget. I have to have a factory. I have to keep the lights on. I have to hire someone to make the widget. That’s this stuff. And this is what I add on, on top?” She pointed to the 53 percent.

Lack of competition allows big businesses to have high profits not seen in over a half century. Two-thirds of all U.S. industries have become more concentrated since the 1980s. Companies are 50 percent more concentrated than in 2005. Four companies control 85 percent of meat and poultry processing, one corporation sets the price for most of the U.S. seed corn, and two firms dominate consumer staples. Big pharma, radically increasing prices, comprises five companies. Airline carriers dropped from 12 in 1980 to four, and Wall Street has five banks, profiting on the spread between the interest paid on deposits and charges for loans. Three cable companies dominate broadband.

Huge corporations continue to buy back their shares instead of investing in the supply chain. U.S. corporate profits rose to $2 trillion in 2022’s second quarter in the widest profit margins since the 1950s. When people buy less, big business charges more. The pretax corporate profits surged 6.1 percent for this quarter from the first quarter in 2022—and corporations have no plans to bring down prices. Only regulation can slow down these profits, and Republicans will never agree because of the huge amounts they receive from these businesses.

Profits keep skyrocketing because there is no monthly measurement of them as there are for consumer prices and wages.

The remainder of price increase comes from issues such as the global economy, the Russian war in Ukraine, diseases such as bird flu, pass-through costs from a tight economy, and the OPEC+ control through Saudi Arabia on gas prices—all things that a president doesn’t control. Big business has sold U.S. refineries to Saudi Arabia, allowing them to restrict gas which raises prices. To lower the cost of gas, a considerable percentage of inflation, Biden is dropping prices by releasing gas reserves, angering Republicans. ProPublica’s new exposé on how rental companies, many of them owned by Wall Street investors, are gouging renters to the max by using an algorithm explains the rental increases, causing a large percentage of inflation.

Food prices are particularly susceptible to Russia’s war. Three major attacks were reducing food exports such as wheat from Ukraine, surging fertilizer prices from limited exports, and increased fuel prices because of Russia’s restricted exports and the Middle East cuts in oil production out of support for the invaders. In addition, poultry and egg prices skyrocketed after the onslaught of the avian flu.  

Increasing fuel prices and the shortage of truck drivers raised the costs of transporting livestock and other products. Reliability issues come from ongoing threats of a rail strike. Barges, which transport 13 percent of U.S. grain, struggle to travel the dangerously low Mississippi River. 

Severe weather, sure to worsen in upcoming years from climate change, will “disrupt availability, reduce agricultural productivity and interrupt food delivery,” according to a report in the Hill by Shirin Ali. Hurricane Ian will have serious impacts on Florida’s citrus belt from flooding in at least 75 percent of the state’s citrus belt. California citrus production will drop 13 percent to the lowest level in 55 years from poor fruit set, caused by the state’s severe drought. In both the U.S. and Mexico, droughts have vastly reduced the availability to fruits and vegetables, and droughts in South America cause spiking coffee prices. Other U.S. disasters have hit wheat fields in the Plains area, cotton harvests in Texas, and tomato products in California. Climate disasters have cost North America $415 billion with a five to 15 percent decrease in crop production for each degree Celsius.

The U.S. is not unique in its inflation problem and is even better off than some other countries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The GOP’s plan to defeat inflation is to blame Democrats. Rep. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), five-term incumbent and ranking member on the Financial Services Committee’s panel on monetary policy, was asked for the Republican plan “to deal with inflation other than not supporting Joe Biden policies.” He responded:

“Well, we have a positive agenda. We have a commitment to America, and we’re going to get back to basics.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said, “Stop spending federal money and then start investing in American innovation and energy.” So spend less and spend more. Leader of the National Senatorial Committee, Rick Scott (R-FL) called inflation “a gold mine for us”—delighted that economic conditions cause suffering.

The GOP’s advantage with voters is the Inflation Reduction Act that they all opposed. Red states largely benefit from its provisions unless they are able to overturn it. GOP-led states, some of the biggest wind and solar producers in the U.S., benefited in the past decades through their job growth and lower ratepayer prices. In Oklahoma, over 40 percent of the state’s electricity comes from wind generation and, 1.3 percent of the workforce is employed in clean energy. GOP Gov. Stitt wants to do away with tax credits advantaging Oklahomans. Texas residents save millions of dollars through renewable energy.

Paul Krugman believes the partisan divide over the environment is emotional rather than rational—as is all the “culture war.” He wrote that, to Republicans, “neither policy details nor rational argument matters.”

October 19, 2022

Debates from High-profile GOP Candidates:

Debates from High-profile GOP Candidates:

In Utah, Sen. Mike Lee, being overtaken by unaffiliated Evan McMullin, desperately campaigned for a return to the U.S. Senate with nasty responses to McMullin level and factual presentation about Lee’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). McMullin said:

“Senator Lee, you sought to find a weakness in our system. You advised the White House, find an alternative slate of electors for Trump to overturn the will of the people. That’s what you said [about states sending alternative slates to vote for DDT] …

“You said the president should listen to legal quack Sydney Powell, ‘Please make time for her, let her in,’ you told the White House chief of staff. You told the president that you were working overtime—14 hours a day, I think you said—to unravel this for him, to keep a president who had been voted out of office according to the will of the people in power despite the will of the people. Senator Lee, it is a betrayal of the American republic. You were there to stand up for our constitution, but when the barbarians were at the gate you were happy to let them in.”

Lee answered, “I disagree with everything my opponent just said, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the.’”

Lee begged for Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) endorsement on Fox’s Tucker Carlson show, a program that regularly roasts Romney. Pundits with short memories slam Romney for no endorsement, but Lee refused to endorse Romney in 2018 and gained his first Senate term in 2010 by destroying popular GOP senator, Bob Bennett, for not being sufficient right-wing. Again desperate, Lee wrote an op-ed glorifying himself in third person “he.”  

A.B. Stoddard has an excellent piece on Lee’s need for power so great that he faithfully follows DDT after rejecting him in the beginning. 

In Ohio, J.D. Vance, another DDT endorsement, faced off with Tim Ryan for the U.S. Senate in a close battle rife with anger and lies. Ryan pointed out Vance’s praise for Alex Jones as an example of Vance’s extremism. Vance denied he said that “Alex Jones is a far more reputable source of information than Rachel Maddow,” but a screen shot of his tweet proves Ryan was right. A believer in the GOP “replacement theory” that Democrats were trying to replace all white people with minorities, Vance tried to hide behind his biracial child. His wife is Indian American. He frequently connects President Joe Biden’s southern border policies with increased fentanyl trafficking in his state, accusing Biden of trying “to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland.”

In the debate, Vance followed the DDT party line, dismissing the House investigation into the insurrection. The attack on Ryan’s voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came from Ryan’s statements in the first debate about DDT’s remark regarding Vance’s “kissing my ass” to get his support. Ryan said Vance should move back to San Francisco if he wants to run against Pelosi. 

Vance has joined the crazy QAnon conspiracy theory of kitty litter boxes in schools for “furries, ”the evidence-free belief about students pretending to be cats, and said he wants the school to tell him if his child “identifies as a chipmunk.” Despite multiple claims from losing GOP candidates, only one school districts keeps kitty litter in classrooms: a Colorado school keeps it in “go-to” buckets for children’s use during school shootings.

In another evidence-free claim, Vance said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “don’t say gay” law is to ban “sexually explicit material that propagandizes and encourages children to take different identities and to engage in sexually explicit acts.” The law highly restricts any discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity.  

More about Vance.  

In Georgia, DDT-endorsed Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate survived one debate telling his lies, including holding up a child’s “Junior Ranger Badge” for law enforcement in violation of debate rules he had signed. He skipped the debate at the Atlanta Press Club. His opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, used the extra time to describe Walker’s domestic violence and lies. A former state senator and GOP chair said people took “comfort” about Walker’s “ability to stand up … and look like he’s fundamentally in charge of … himself.”

Immediately after the announcement of the first abortion, a prayer circle hosted by First Baptist Church Pastor Anthony George called for Walker’s divinely anointment. About pointing a gun at his wife’s head and threatening to kill her, he claims to be redeemed. In far-right Christian evangelical lexicon, Walker paid to have his own child murdered, but they abandoned  the teachings of Jesus to control the U.S. Senate. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called Warnock, a pastor, an “abomination.” 

A third candidate, Libertarian Chase Oliver, participated in the debate. A gay man, Oliver attacked Walker’s anti-LGBTQ stance. If no one receives at least 50 percent of the vote on November 8, a run-off on December 6 between the top two will determine the winner. Republicans moved up the timing since the last Senate election as well as eliminating any new voter registrations between Midterms and the run-off, trying to avoid their problems in 2021 when they lost two Senate seats.

In the past two weeks, Walker admitted he lied about not knowing the ex-girlfriend, mother of one of his illegitimate children, and paying her; denied he urged her to get another abortion two years after the first one; and uses his book, published two years before the ex-girlfriend’s first abortion, to excuse himself because he was saved “by the grace of god.” Walker claimed abortion kills babies but there “was nothing to be ashamed of” if the claims are true.

Perhaps trying to divert the media from the abortions’ stories, Walker claimed his grandmother was “full-blood Cherokee” and his mother “part Native American, a big part.” Walker’s mother said she couldn’t confirm his claims,” and the Cherokee Nation, which keeps excellent records, has no evidence of Walker’s claim. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) claimed to have Native American ancestry, she was ridiculed for years; Walker’s lie was barely a blip on the radar.

Walker is the classic deadbeat dad who he claims to hate. He’s a typical poorly-parented adolescent who lies to get out of trouble, tells really bad, pointless jokes like the one on bulls and cows, threatens to beat up or kill people, and runs away from all his responsibilities. DDT didn’t even go to Georgia to support his own candidate. Instead, surrogates Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rick Scott (R-FL) were sent, and Cotton was forced to laugh at transgender servicemembers along with Walker. Although Walker never served in the military, he claimed to do “lots of things in the military,” and his son is gay. Cotton also lied when he claimed to be “a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said he couldn’t vote for Walker but can’t vote for Warnock. He described himself and “hundreds of thousands of other Republicans here in Georgia … confused. We don’t really have anywhere to go right now.” Mistaking Duncan for a TV pundit, Walker disparaged his statements. Polls are all over the place in Georgia from a two-percent lead for Walker to a 12-percent lead for Warnock. Early voting started last Monday with big crowds.

Joe Scarborough called Walker “the perfect lab experiment on just how low Republican voters are willing to go.” According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, DDT “wants to show that nothing matters.” The more DDT and MAGAs abolish the rules, the less the rules count.

More about Walker.

Also in Georgia, a debate between Gov. Brian Kemp and Democrat opponent Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial election drew much less notice, likely because of no buffoon for the policy-based event. and the hour-long event was policy-based. Four years ago, Kemp was able to purge voter rolls and otherwise control the election while he was Secretary of State; this year, he commands the field as an incumbent who has not destroyed the state and can still control some campaign financing to benefit himself.

Abrams presented a list of Georgia’s problems—spiking crime, rising home prices, and Chinese government’s purchase of the state’s farmland. Kemp attacked her on a position of “defund the police,” touting his endorsements, but she pointed out that endorsements are typically related to long-entrenched power in the state. His answer to any question was that Georgia reopened the state’s businesses and schools earlier than any other state in 2020, including those about racial disparities, local economy, expanding Medicaid, and budget surplus.

Kemp also signed a law permitting anyone in Georgia to carry a firearm without a license after the mass shootings in 2021. He claimed he wouldn’t seek any further restrictions in laws or contraception although he secretly expressed an openness to these changes. Georgia already blocks abortions after six weeks before many women are unaware of a pregnancy. Caught on audio, he claimed he was just humoring his audience. He does want a law stopping “divisive concepts” and a “parent’s bill of rights”—meaning white nationalist curriculum and only conservative parents’ “rights.”

In a Wisconsin debate, an audience laughed at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) when he whined about being “set up” by the FBI to explain why he had to be warned that the Kremlin tried to make him a “Russian asset.” He claimed that the FBI used “a corrupt briefing and then leaked that to smear me.” Johnson blamed the laughter on college students who might have sneaked into the debate because they are “taught leftist propaganda” and called the January 6 insurrection “peaceful” by “people … that truly respect law enforcement [who] would never do anything to break the law.”  

Johnson is paying a law firm connected to a January 6 probe into overturning the 2020 election. The campaign listed expenses as “recount,” indicating he may be getting ready for a loss in three weeks. Johnson also received donations from a DDT attorney accused in the state’s fake elector effort. Asked the usual question to say something positive about his opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Johnson said he wanted to know why “he turned against America.” Johnson was booed.

Other Johnson policies: retirees should go back to work, Social Security and Medicare will disappear if they aren’t voted in every year, and he doesn’t know if he will accept defeat. Johnson is also open to the conspiracy theory that COVID vaccines cause AIDS and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Plus more.

October 18, 2022

News Bits – October 18, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is driving the media while President Joe Biden quietly works toward peace in the world. One of his recent accomplishments is negotiating an agreement between Israel and Lebanon to identify their maritime boundary. At war since 1948, the two countries have sometimes had military conflict, most recently in 2006, partly because of their lack of internationally recognized borders on land and on sea, a problem especially because of the large natural gas fields off their coasts. Progress was difficult because the countries’ officials refused to be in the same room, and Lebanon does no recognize Israel as a country.

Amos J. Hochstein, presidential coordinator for energy security, began diplomacy at the beginning of the year, commuting between Tel Aviv to Beirut through a third country because Israel and Lebanon have no direct air of road links.  He used the approach of how both countries could safeguard their vital interests, and both made concessions. Both sides called the deal “historic” as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to regain power in the November 1 election, said it was a “disgraceful surrender.” DDT’s former negotiator also attacked the agreement. With the countries at war, this agreement was more remarkable than DDT’s Abraham Accord in which three Arab states—the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco—recognized Israel because the three countries weren’t at war with Israel. Proof that diplomacy pays.

The federal website to apply for relief from student debt opened on October 17, an act that could directly help 43 million people in the U.S. and others connected to them as debt relief frees up family resources. Within a day, over 8 million people completed the application requiring five minutes.

Thanks to another Biden action, people can also save as much as $3,000 with hearing aids now available over the counter.

Earlier this month, Biden issued restrictions on selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China, blocking them from critical technologies from supercomputing to guiding weapons. The purpose is to delay Chinese military programs for nuclear blasts, hypersonic weapons, and surveillance. Companies selling advanced chips and chip-making equipment will need a special license given out on a case-by-case procedure.

After Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Hondo plans to build a $4.2 billion electric vehicle battery plant forty miles from Columbus (OH), creating 2,200 manufacturing jobs. Since Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. has added 620,000 manufacturing jobs. By August 2020, DDT had lost 237,000 manufacturing jobs among the total 3.1 million jobs that disappeared during his four years.

Republicans voted against Biden’s infrastructure bills, calling them “socialist,” but returned home to take credit for the funding given to their states. Biden’s response: “I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans.”

Fox network continually searches for ways to shame Biden. A recent one is Biden’s telling his son Hunter Biden that he loves him when Hunter was struggling with drug addiction. Sean Hannity played a private voicemail Biden left for Hunter in which Biden first expressed his love for his son and then said, “You gotta get some help. I don’t know what to do. I know you don’t either.” Hannity asked people to “imagine how the mob and the media” would cover the situation if DDT expressed the same sentiment. Maybe with some appreciation for the man?

Biden has never tried to hide his son’s addiction and isn’t embarrassed about loving his children. Yet Hannity whines about “attacks” on Herschel Walker, GOP candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate, the man who rejected his three illegitimate children, incessantly lied, considered killing a man in road rage, and threatened to kill his wife and another son. Oh yes, and denied paying for his girlfriend’s abortion and claimed not to know her, the mother of one of his children.

New discoveries about the past administration:

In its third installment, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report specified DDT’s administrative undermining “the scientific integrity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus response in an attempt to serve the former President’s political goals.” The first installment addressed DDT’s attachment to the deadly “herd immunity via mass infection strategy,” and the second gave evidence of his high pressure campaigns on the CDC COVID decision-making and change scientific reasons. Part of Chairman James Clyburn’s (D-SC) statement:

“The previous administration engaged in an unprecedented campaign of political interference in the federal government’s pandemic response, which undermined public health to benefit the former president’s political goals… President Trump and his top aides repeatedly attacked CDC scientists, compromised the agency’s public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus. This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk.”

The report contains details of the above statement as well as how DDT used the pretense of a virus spread to close the southern border in the Title 42 order and blackmailed CDC into wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from its budget for DDT’s celebrity vanity campaign leading up to the November 2020 election. CDC said that accurate scientific advice to the public would have stopped some of the COVID deaths.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/17/trump-secret-service-hotel-rates-records/     Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has records proving the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him “exorbitant rates”—up to $1,185 per night—to stay at his properties, amounting to $1.4 million over four years. DDT promised that federal employees traveling with him would stay at his properties “free” or “at cost,” but DDT’s business charged the Secret Service over the government rate at least 40 times from January 2027 to September 2021. Some of the charges were for DDT’s family as in the nightly rate of $1,160 at the Washington, D.C. Trump hotel to protect Eric Trump when he promoted a golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club.

During his term, DDT visited his own properties over 500 times and continues to take security with him after he left the White House. (To make John Malone, DDT supporter and board member of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros, happy, CNN tried to show that Biden took off more time than DDT but deflated DDT’s days off work and playing golf without discussing DDT’s expenditures in the article.) 

Maloney wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, demanding a full accounting of what taxpayers have paid DDT’s business in the past and continue to pay. Cheatle replaces DDT-appointee James Murray who retired under a scandal of missing text message during the January 6 insurrection when the 27-year veteran of the agency returned from her job as senior director at PepsiCo North America overseeing facilities, personnel, and business continuity. Since her return, over one million texts and cellphone messages appeared.

In another probe, the House January 6 investigative committee is asking Cheatle about contacts between Secret Service agents and members of the far-right Oath Keepers group. Court testimony has revealed that Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, claimed to be in contact with the agents before the rallies, one of them giving advice on what weapons they could take to the rally.

In the second and last trial by John Durham, the special counsel investigating the special counsel Robert Mueller probing Russian interference into DDT’s 2016 campaign, the defendant has been acquitted of lying to the FBI about his sources. Appointed by AG Bill Barr before the 2020 election, Durham’s claims about private researcher Igor Danchenko for the Steele dossier about DDT’s Russian connections lacked evidence. During the hearing, Durham became confrontational and aggressive with his own witnesses, FBI counterintelligence supervisor and agent, who described Danchenko as a trusted source of information on Russian influence.

Durham’s first trial led also to an acquittal, and no one else is charged from Durham’s probe, his grand jury is inactive, and Durham will likely be pressured to wrap up his work after failing to achieve DDT’s claim of discovering “the crime of the century.”

The FBI promised Danchenko he would be protected by keeping his identity secret, but DDT’s allies exposed him. A witness testified that AG Bill Barr damaged national security when he gave a declassified redacted report of his interview with Danchenko to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who shared it with the world in an attempt to prove the corruption of the Russian investigation.

New Jersey is suing five major oil and gas companies and a leading fossil fuel lobby group for knowingly lying to the public about the existence of climate change and the role their products play in exacerbating human-caused global heating as far back as the 1970s. Dozens of states and cities have already filed similar lawsuits against fossil fuel corporations. New Jersey’s lawsuit is on the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy which killed 38 people in the state and caused about $30 billion in damage.

Two strange stories from last summer. Deutsche Telkom AG, parent company of T-Mobile, trademarked the color magenta, declaring ownership over them and banning any other business from using them, after making them synonymous with a brand. And only 1,867 solid Pantone colors exist, and pink is already taken by Owens-Corning followed by green-gold by Qualitex. Etc. Trademarks must be renewed every ten years. Ohio University has also trademarked the word “THE,” covering “clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats; all of the foregoing being promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics.”

It’s a crazy world.

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